Traveling has never been easier with all the apps we have right in our palm. If you are planning your first trip to Europe, or if it’s been a while, there are some apps you should know about. Of course, some apps work better than others in different parts of the world. In my opinion, these are the best travel apps for Europe. If you think I’ve missed any, please leave them in the comments at the bottom! Let’s help each other out in this big travel community!
You may also want to read our best apps to use in Amsterdam
Best travel apps for Europe: taxi services
Depending on which part of Europe you are in will determine which phone app to use. As with all apps, make sure you have set everything up well before we you get to your destination and need it. Make sure your card/PayPal/whatever are all in the app and you know that it works.
Mytaxi is similar to the Uber-style of using, but at the end of the trip you wait for the driver to complete the trip in the app, and then you pay via the app. There may also be an option to pay by cash, but part of the reason I like these apps is that I don’t like to carry cash.
Again, similar to the above, it’s an app where you pick the style of ride you want and then they will come and pick you up based on your location or an address you give. Cash or no cash is fine as long as you have your cards set up in the app ahead of time. To figure out which cities have Taxify.
This one is only in the Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia and works a bit differently than the rest. Liftago only uses certified taxi drivers but the drivers can put how much they want to charge, as a bid. Once you accept the bid, then they will pick you up. You may not always pay the same prices for the same ride. You can go cashless, but I had a hard time with it accepting an American credit card.
You probably already know the deal about Uber. It’s cashless and uses your location to find you. Sometimes I find this part tricky, but that’s anything that uses GPS. Just make sure the dot is actually where you are. What you might not know is you can schedule multiple stops and even split the fare with others in the car. I also like to share my ride with the person I’m meeting so they know my arrival time and if the driver is super late, they know.
Maps (online and offline)
If you are in one of the cities supported by Citymapper, it can be a lifesaver on public transit. With real-time updates and the ability for it to follow you along and tell you exactly what to do next and which exit to take, it can be like having a local with you. It’s my favorite thing to use in London.
Did you know you can download a Google map? Just search for the area you want, then go back up to the search bar and type “ok map” and hit search. Then it will bring up a box of the area you can adjust slightly and download. This is pretty much view-only, though. You can zoom in, but you won’t be able to search on it if you’re offline.
The Waze app is perfect if you are taking a road trip because it’s an app with an entire community behind it. It shows traffic jams, police sightings, disabled vehicles, speed limit changes, and even prices of gas stations. I’m sure it works better in some parts than others, but it’s certainly worth giving it a try! You will need data for this one, though.
My friend turned me onto maps.me because she saves all her favorite spots on it and uses it religiously. It works offline, so you’ll have to download maps ahead of time, but it’s great for the car if you don’t have access to data, and still has the main points of interest whether on car or foot.
Reviews to find local hot spots
In Europe, TripAdvisor is pretty much king. It really is one of the best apps for European travel. Yelp had started to pick up momentum, but just isn’t cutting it anymore. So, Sean and I are always on TripAdvisor because we love all the filters to find just the right place. When you are already super hungry, make sure you use the “open now” filter so you don’t get constantly disappointed when they are closed.
Almost in tandem with TripAdvisor, we might check other reviews on Google if there aren’t many on TripAdvisor, or if it seems mixed. Google is kind of like a tie-breaker.
I used to work for Booking.com and therefore used it all the time for our trips. I knew the good and bad of it and I still like and use the app even now! It’s so easy to just do a quick search and find a good place with all the filters. I always feel like the filters are the most important part! It’s so easy to book on the app, and that’s key for me.
Before Booking.com life, we used Airbnb quite a bit. I’ve grown a bit out of love with it recently, not because of the app, but because in many cities Airbnb places take over apartments people would like to live in. I’m super sensitive to that now that I live in one of those cities and I can see the impact. Even after saying that, it’s nice to have an alternative if you need it!
I haven’t used this HotelTonight myself but I’m adding because I know people who have and it’s saved their butts a few times. If you need something last minute (hotel overbooked, crappy Airbnb), this is where to turn to!
Long distance transportation
Get comparisons on prices between planes, trains, and bus on Omio. I love this app especially for trains and buses when I’m at a destination and want to get a bit farther from the airport for a day trip or the rest of my travel days!
Everyone has their favorite, but mine is Skyscanner for flights. I don’t know why, but it just is. I like randomly checking it, searching “everywhere”. Sometimes I even save the flights and I get emails if the prices go up or down. If you’re flexible, it can be a lot of fun!
Sometimes you just need to figure out how much something is in your home currency to see if it’s worth buying. When traveling to a bunch of different countries, your brain is going to have a hard time remembering exchange rates, so just download the XE app and be done with it.
Lifesaver. Let me write that again. LIFESAVER. Menus, tickets, signs, paperwork, it’s all confusing when you don’t know the language. Use Google Translate to talk to people! We used it when in Italy when our host didn’t speak English, it made life super easy.
Organize your trips with apps
I’m a Google fan over and over. We all probably have a love/hate relationship with one company knowing everything. It’s annoying and yet, super convenient. Google Trips does a pretty good job of reading the emails to get flight numbers/time and hotel information. Going a bit farther, it turns into a guide combining places you’ve saved on Google maps, with suggested day plans, even how to get around and what you really need to know. Bonus: you can take it all offline.
Most people have heard of Tripit, once you link your emails, it is supposed to put everything together for your trip in one place. It’s super helpful if you stay on top of it. Some tickets make it hard for the system to read and you have to manually input the information. But, if you are just looking for organization and don’t mind adding it yourself. It’s a great thing to use.
Other apps just for you
Download your local airport app, your favorite airline (or all the airlines you fly), and the local transit systems.
What’s important for me is the Schiphol airport app because it tells you everything super fast — usually, at the same time or even before the boards are updated. When gates kept changing, this has saved me.
The KLM app is also a must since I fly it all the time and because the airline app knows all. I woke up in the U.S. to a notification that my flight back to Amsterdam was canceled. Within 3 minutes of that notification, I had already been rescheduled on another flight, all within the app. It’s almost magic.
Our phones are basically an extension of ourselves, so use precautions when traveling and when at home. Don’t mindlessly leave it on a table, add a lock code, and put a good case on it as insurance. Some swear by LifeProof cases, but I swear by Spigen. I have no idea how I found them, but the case has saved our phones on many occasions. We actually have a rule in our house, if you get a new phone, it doesn’t leave the house until it has one of these cases on it. Breaking a $700-$1000 phone is just NOT going to happen.
Use the apps as needed, but don’t forget to stop and smell the roses…or whatever is around : )
I want you to have the BEST experience in Europe, so I am all ears (or eyes, I suppose, here on the internet). What do you want to know about traveling around Europe?
Wishing you love and travels!